Interview with Keita Nagano, author of The Sea of Japan

Keita Nagano

Recently, I had the great pleasure of speaking with the author of The Sea of Japan, Keita Nagano. You will certainly enjoy this audio only version of my chat with Keita, and learn a bit about his writing style.

About the book

When thirty-year-old Lindsey, an English teacher in Japan who’s been assigned to a tiny fishing town, is saved from drowning by a local young fisherman, she’s drawn into a battle with a neighboring town that has high stakes for everyone—especially her.

As their efforts to save their town backfire, Hime gets closer to falling
apart—putting Lindsey’s friends, her budding relationship with Ichiro, and her career in jeopardy. To save Hime, Lindsey realizes she’ll have to become a true American fisherwoman and fight for her new home with everything she has. 

Get the book The Sea of Japan by clicking on the image above, or here at the link listed below:


Keita Nagano is an award-winning Japanese author who has lived almost equally in Nevada and Tokyo—more than twenty years in each place—and he reflects the difference of the two cultures in his novels. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Keio University in Japan, as well as an MBA in global business and a PhD in management from Walden University in Minnesota.

The pursuit of the authentic American experience is his hobby: he has been to all fifty states, all thirty major league ballparks, and the top sixty big cities in America. He has published seventeen business nonfiction and eight fiction books in Japan.

In 2013, he received a Nikkei (Japanese Wall Street Journal) Award for Contemporary Novel for his missing-child thriller, Kamikakushi. He also received a Mita Literary Award in 2011 for his short story  “Takino-a bank clerk.” In addition, he is an official weekly columnist for Forbes Japan.

​Nagano lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife and Welsh corgi. Their teenage daughter is currently studying in Tennessee.

You can find him at his website:

Did you enjoy this podcast? Please check out our other interviews on this site.

Interview with Tom Lutz, author of Born Slippy: A Novel

Tom Lutz
Tom Lutz, author of Born Slippy: a novel

About the author

Tom Lutz is a writer of books, articles, and screenplays, the founder of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and is now Distinguished Professor at UC Riverside. His books include American Book Award winner Doing Nothing, New York Times notable books Crying and American Nervousness1903, the travel books And the Monkey Learned Nothing and Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World, and coming on January 14, 2020, Born Slippy: A Novel.

He has written for television and film, and appeared in scores of national and international newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and edited collections. He is working with a Los Angeles-based production company on a television show set in the 1920s, is finishing a third collection of travel pieces, a book on the 1920s (The Modern Surface), and is in the early stages of a book on global conflict along the aridity line.


– Can you share a little of your current work with us? (short synopsis)

My novel, Born Slippy, arrives January 14. A nonfiction book on aimlessness is coming later in the year, the third book in my travel series (after Drinking Mare’s Milk and And the Monkey Learned Nothing) is almost finished, and the sequel to Born Slippy is just underway. I like to have at least two going at any time so if one feels wutchy I can move to another.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I discovered a disease, called neurasthenia, that everyone who was anyone at the dawn of the 20th century had (Edith Wharton, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, Theodore Roosevelt, etc.). It went extinct by the middle of the century, replaced by other, more specific syndromes, like anxiety, depression, neurosis, and eventually by things like Epstein-Barr virus and others. I also was a new professor then, and needed to publish or perish, so that was an inspiration, too.

Do you have a specific writing style?

No, it changes as my subject and sense of audience changes. At least that’s the way it seems to me—other people may find something recognizable from genre to genre….

How did you come up with the title?

I actually called the novel Sugarfish, which is the password for an account that gets set up in the middle of the book. It’s the name of a restaurant here in LA, and one character looks up, sees it, and uses it as a password. I liked it because it had referenced a lot of the book’s sweetness and my antagonist’s fishiness; it also sounded vaguely sexual to me. My British editor hated it, and Born Slippy was his suggestion—he liked it because the song has a Liverpool connection (my antagonist is from Liverpool, and it became famous in part because it was on the soundtrack for Trainspotting and because the lyrics, such as they are, make sense for the book.

What book are you reading now?

I’ve just finished Olga Tokarczuk’s amazing Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft, Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans, and Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

Well, those three aren’t exactly new, although Tokarczuk is new to most people in America—it’s the fourth book for Lalami and for Cha. Also not exactly new, but I love Leslie Jamison and Rachel Cusk. Ayesha Attah’s Hundred Wells of Salaga is a novel of the slave trade from the African side. I love Elif Batuman’s The Idiot, a few years old already…. Miriam Gurba is a new talent to watch, and Fatima Mirza.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A cowboy. By the time I was 14 or so, a rock star. Then, around 16, a writer.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Making it better than it is. It always ends up being only just as good as it is, and I always end up wishing it was better.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Yes, I’ve been to somewhere between 130 and 140 countries (including places like French Guiana, which is technically part of France). I say, to the IRS, that all of it is for my writing, and eventually it all will be, or most of it.

-Who designed your covers?

They were done in house by each of my publishers I like them all. The most recent is by Johnny Bull for Repeater/PRH. I really like Monkey (Iowa), Crying (Norton), Mare’s Milk (O|R Books), Doing Nothing (FSG), and American Nervousness and Cosmopolitan Vistas (both Cornell).

Book Details

Title: Born Slippy: A Novel

  • Author’s name: Tom Lutz
  • Genre: noir, thriller
  • Publish date: January 14, 2020
  • Publisher: Repeater/Penguin Random House
  • Page count: 296

Get your copy today at Amazon by clicking the cover image

ABOUT THE BOOK (blurb on Amazon):

A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of — and resistance to — toxic masculinity.

“Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years.”

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry’s office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry’s wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.




Twitter: @TomLutz22



Barnes & Noble:

When Faith Lights the Way by Stephen H. Vincent

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stephen H. Vincent, author of When Faith Lights the Way-The Quest to Restore Electricity to a War-Ravaged African Hospital.


The Ganta Hospital in Liberia was struggling to rebuild while serving 24,000 patients a year. Intense thunderstorms forced surgeons to finish operations with flashlights in their mouths. When Faith Lights the Way chronicles a rare altruistic quest to design and construct a vital, highly-technical, life-giving electric system for a remote African hospital destroyed by fourteen years of war



When Faith Lights the Way
Stephen H. Vincent, author of When Faith Lights the Way

Steve is a successful businessman who’s first career spanned thirty-four years in the electric utility industry. In his second career, his efforts have been redirected to provide state of the art electric systems to improve the health and education to the neediest people in the world. Steve’s extensive experience in logistics while working with U.S. electric power systems has made this unique contribution to mankind possible. Steve has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Texas A&M University.



When Faith Lights the Way, is now published as an e-book, paperback, and audio-book. You can find out more about this book and the author at these sites:


When Faith Lights the Way dot com

YouTube interview video with Stephen H. Vincent

See the audio podcast down below


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Interview with Neda Disney, author of Planting Wolves

Recently, I had the privilege of connecting with Neda Disney, the author of Planting Wolves. Please see below for how to get this book! You can find out more about Neda at her website,

Neda Disney, author

Interview with Neda

Can you share a little of your current work with us? (short synopsis of Planting Wolves)

It’s about people with not a lot of self awesomeness. A few are really more seekers for the meaning of their paths.

It’s a very visual book because it contains magical realism which to me, makes their confusion and human longing gorgeous.

What inspired you to write your first book? – Do you have a specific writing style?

I was in an in-between phase in my life. I was very much in need of questions to answer and choices to make. I think writing brought my desires into high relief.

How did you come up with the title?

It’s a phrased used in conservatism to describe putting endangered animals, in this case wolves, somewhere where they can proliferate and thrive.

It’s a metaphor. There are no wolves in the book and no wolves were harmed in the writing of this book.

What book are you reading now?

I have an 8-year-old daughter so I’m reading a lot of more complicated children’s books. It’s difficult to know if the books’ plots are informed by the interests of children or are forming those interests.

Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

No. I’m fairly suspended in time at the moment. Plus, I don’t like to read when I’m working on writing. I’m writing my new book so I can’t read anything but goods about tummy aches and making new friends. To be clear- kids’ books.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? – Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

It’s difficult to sit still. I’m very social and extroverted.

As for travel- I do travel but not for writing.

But I talk a lot to strangers, I make acquaintances quickly and I know immediately who I will be friends with.

I people watch, go out a lot. I call this micro travel. My mind and spirit become refreshed by other people and how they move me.

Who designed your covers?

It is a photo of a painting I did. I studied painting which as I said is very related to writing. A computer designer person worked with the image and made it into a lovely book cover.

I absolutely must learn the name of this difficult profession so I don’t disrespect an entire career path which is not easy to master.

Thank you for your fun and smart questions.

How can I get Planting Wolves?

Get yours today!

Genre: Literary Fiction, Magic Realism, available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio

Blurb For Planting Wolves by Neda Disney

A writer in a purgatory bar, an art collecting housewife who time travels, a movie Production Assistant with stigmata, a codependent AA sponsor, a sex addict, a movie star with issues, a two-time liver transplant recipient and an abusive TV costumer who gets what’s coming to her. All connected to one another but completely and utterly alone.

For more author interviews see this one:


The problem with YouTube

In case you haven’t been paying attention, YouTube was fined a very large sum of money by the FTC in September of 2019 and because of that, they have decided to change a lot about the platform.

I am blogging to tell you that I am not too certain that I wish to continue producing content on YT because of this. *now…a podcast, maybe still in the offering…*

First, don’t forget to check their TERMS of SERVICE right now: go here:

What has happened? Watch the video below to find out:

Because of this, your video if you have been interviewed by Writer Groupie may suddenly disappear, and in fact, the entire channel may come down. I believe in protecting kids. I really do. But I believe in protecting myself and my family too. A $42,530 fine for a video that “may” interest a child under 13, that was TRULY not intended to do so, well…it comes under the heading of NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

Just a little heads up to all you guys.

Thanks for the memories.

Interview with Brian Finney, author of Money Matters

Brian Finney, author of Money Matters

Recently, I had the privilege to get an interview with a Professor Emeritus and James Tair Memorial Book Prize-winning author. Brian has written 8 nonfiction books, but our interview focused on his first NOVEL, Money Matters, a literary detective tale.


The main story of Money Matters is narrated by its protagonist Jenny, 27-years-old and a little lost in life. She is still just getting by with two part-time jobs. Asked to look into the disappearance of the CEO’s girlfriend, Jenny reluctantly turns amateur detective and soon finds herself up against a range of powerful and sinister forces, including big money, a corrupt politician, and a Mexican drug cartel.

So the novel is part (late) coming-of-age, part amateur sleuth, part social issues. Immigration, one such issue, permeates both the main plot and subplot featuring an undocumented young Mexican-American. Jenny’s search leads to her meeting the young, handsome director of an immigrants’ rights organization to whom she is strongly attracted. So the novel has elements of romance(as well!).

Money Matters

In our interview we learn more about Brian, his work, and interests.


– Can you share a little of your current work with us? (short synopsis)

Money Matters is my debut suspense novel that combines a number of genres. Its narrator and major character is Jenny, a 27-year-old woman who hasn’t got her life together. She still lives in her sister Tricia’s Venice apartment and survives on two minimal paying part-time jobs – one doing plant maintenance for Todd, the CEO of a mutual fund company, the other for a large detective agency replaying surveillance tapes.

She is persuaded to investigate the disappearance of Todd’s girlfriend by his Mexican-American housekeeper. Her amateur detective work soon brings her up against the interests of big money, politics (the novel is set during the 2010 mid-term election), and a Mexican drug cartel. 

It also brings into her life the attractive director of an immigrant rights organization. The reader is left unsure to the end whether she will overcome the powerful and dangerous forces opposed to her search for the truth.

– What inspired you to write your first book?

I spent much of my adult life teaching university students how to read and analyze works of fiction. When I retired I felt free at last to write a work of fiction myself. Also, the novel raises questions about immigration, and I emigrated from England over thirty years ago; so I felt a natural bond to my immigrant characters and their difficulties.

– Do you have a specific writing style?

I have written seven nonfiction books (including an award-winning biography of Christopher Isherwood) and in all of them I have tried to develop as colloquial style as the genre allowed. Once I turned to fiction I had unlimited use of colloquial language and developed the voice of my female protagonist to exploit this stylistic trait.

– How did you come up with the title?

Waking up one night it came to me. Its ambiguous meaning encapsulates so economically Jenny’s fight against the monetary society she is a part of which accounts for her lack of money, and the realization that you can’t ignore the role and power of money today. Her endless fights with her wealthy sister give this dual theme dramatic substance.

– What book are you reading now?

Currently, I am on vacation and reading travel literature pertinent to places I am visiting. Just before that, I read Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, an update of Cervantes Don Quixote set in contemporary America. It’s a wonderful hodgepodge of buffoonery, literary parody, social satire, and much more. I have written a long review of it for the Los Angeles Review of Books that will be published in late October.

– Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?

I loved Laila Lalami‘s The Other Americans, a novel that, like mine, focuses on immigrants’ experience, though her focus is almost exclusively on an immigrant community. The novel is short-listed for a National Book Award.

– As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Early on I wanted to be a train driver as I was under the influence of an elder brother obsessed by railways who eventually did become a train driver. I soon grew out of that obsession once my brother left home.

– Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I find I can write with ease, which doesn’t mean I don’t then have to do a lot of deleting and revising. With this novel, my biggest challenge was stopping myself from weighting the scales in favor of Jenny whose views I largely share. I had to spend much time and effort making Tricia’s arguments as convincing as Jenny’s. I hope I succeeded, as conflict is at the essence of narrative.

– Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

This book was set in Los Angeles where I live. But writing my biography of Christopher Isherwood brought me to Southern California to interview him and his friends, and that in turn led to my immigrating there.

-Who designed your covers?

Carl Graves at Extended Imagery, a talented book cover designer, as you can see from the cover of my novel.


Money Matters, which is a Finalist in the American Fiction Awards, is now published as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook. It is available from Amazon:

I also have a website with details of all my books and other publications:

Thanks very much to Brian, and his excellent PR team for getting us in touch. IF you want an interview on Writer Groupie, or a podcast segment, just let us know by leaving a contact form!

Hey, everyone, welcome back to Writer Groupie. We are chatting with Janie Franz, author of the paranormal fantasy series starting with Ruins, this time, Ruins Legacy .

Ruins Legacy by Janie Franz

We interviewed Janie a while back, at this link for episode 73 : Janie Franz, Acquisitions Editor

I hope you will listen to both of these great chats. They are linked (the two videos) in this one at YouTube. I am trying to create playlists there of dual/multiple interviews. If you like playlists, have a look on our Youtube channel and see what it looks like.

This time Janie and I have a good chat about the latest goings-on at Muse It Up Publishing, who is currently closed to subs, but you can bookmark the site anyway by going here: MuseItUpPublishing

And we also talk about her latest book, Ruins Legacy, which just came out in March.

Also, the audio in this chat is not as good as it needs to be…we were Skyping during a thunderstorm of epic proportions. Sorry about that!!!

You guys should try to glean all you can from our chat though, as Janie is very experienced at editing and writing, and she shares a lot of good info. Writers like me can learn a lot from her.

Hope you enjoy this one!

Eps 84 – R Weir-Mann in the Crossfire

Mann in the Crossfire

This is my second interview with Randy Weir, author of Mann in the Crossfire, his latest novel. If you want to see the first interview go here :

…or just read the blog here

Randy has just gotten back from a conference and he tells us all about what happened there, and if it was a good one for you to plan on attending.

We also discussed the latest book Mann in the Crossfire and how Randy hopes it is well received as it may be the last in the series. We talk about how to know when a series has reached its natural end, and what may be coming in the future.

There is a lot of good discussion about writing and the writing life in this video and I hope you will enjoy it.

You can get R Weir’s previous work, Front Range Butcher here at Amazon – this IS an affiliate link.

book covers
Front Range Butcher by R. Weir

Please like, share, follow, and subscribe to our various social media accounts. We love our subscribers!

R. Weir, author of the Jarvis Mann PI series
Twitter :


Are you a writer? Would you like to come on the Writer Groupie Podcast?

Drop us a line here at the website and let us know how we can book you for the show!

Did you enjoy this episode?

Leave a comment on this page or ask a question if you need us to elaborate on the topic.
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We appreciate you taking the time to check out WGP! And we look forward to providing you with more content in the next episode! Just click on the images below to take you to iTunes or Youtube. We really hope to see you next time!



How do I start a podcast?

How do I start a podcast has to be one of the most common asked questions. It is pretty simple actually, and there are a wealth of great informative sites on the subject. I will just add my two centavos in here however, just to be able to say I did.

Starting a podcast in this year would be a bit different from how things looked back about 10 years ago when the Internet was younger and less crowded. Podcasts and Youtube were still considered ground breakers and you could get a little traction on those sites where you might get overlooked as a blogger.

Start a podcast 2008 version

It sure didn’t hurt to be a blogger AND podcaster AND Youtuber back then. It still doesn’t but you do have to work a lot harder now to get noticed. 500 hours are uploaded to YT every minute!

But back to my question at hand. How do you start a podcast today?

If I were going to start one today, I would look into apps that make it easier. I use Mobile Podcaster for my flyby shows. It can be done on the “fly”, uploaded to your WordPress blog, and edited, and published really easily.

I believe that as Youtube changes its algorithm and makes video uploads and content more financially beneficial to them, you will see that video will not be the main go to for small content creators. Audio is easier, and has smaller files so uploading is quicker.

start a podcast

I am considering going to an all audio format for Writer Groupie because that truly is the preferred way for most writers to be interviewed. Most do not like to have their countenances portrayed on YT and across the web.

But if you want to start a podcast, and you have any questions, drop me a line. I am happy to help.

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